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Hiking/Backpacking/Camping/How practical is it to alter your backpacking backpack?



Because I'm on a budget, I bought a backpacking backpack from the Army Navy Surplus whatever it is store, for $50. I don't know if these are relevant details, but it's an internal frame 62 liter backpack with those bendable metal rods you stick in. You can adjust the middle by sliding part of the frame up and down, has a separate sleeping bag compartment, and waist straps along with chest straps.

Anyway, the issue is, you know how they say it's best to put your tent on the upper part of your backpack for best balance of weight? This backpack only came with those strap loops for a rolled up sleeping pad at the bottom, but not the straps for the top. When putting my 4 IBS tent on the bottom, I found that I leaned forward quite a bit.

How easy/practical would it be to sew in loop straps to the top for carrying a tent? Is it something you can just add in, or does the body of the backpack need to be altered for this?

Thanks for your time,


Adding loops or straps to a backpack is pretty easy.  I'm not sure what type of material your pack is made of either nylon or canvas, but either way this will work.  First decide what kind and number of straps/loops you need to add to your pack.  If you are not sure,  I would pack your pack as if you were packing for a trip. This will give you a better idea of what will need to go on the outside of the pack.  

I would use nylon webbing 1" to 1 1/2".  You can get this at REI or any climbing shop/outfitter at about $.30 to $.50 a foot.  If you know someone who has a heavy duty sewing machine/needle (upholsterer, sail maker ..... etc),  set mark the location of the straps, cut to length and sew away.  The alternative would be to take the pack to a shoe repair shop and they should be able to sew the straps on with no problem.  If you do this, to save time and cost,  have the entire webbing pre cut and pinned to the pack in the location you want the straps.

Also to balance the weight of the pack consider storing the poles on the sides of the pack (inside would work,  closest to your spine).  This might not be a choice since a 62 liter pack is some what small (aprox 3750 cui), but it will help to balance the pack making it less top heavy.


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I can answer questions pertaining to backpacking/day hiking, snowshoeing, and general camping questions. I can also answer questions pertaining to clothing and equipment selection, maintenance, and repair. I will also be able to answer most general recreation/touring kayaking questions.


I have been very active my whole life; mt biking, running, scuba diving, sailing …etc. I have been an avid hiker for the past 22 years. I have hiked trails in both the national and state park systems in approximately 20 states through out the US. Personally, I enjoy dessert hiking the most and have spent more time in these areas of the country (i.e. Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, South and North Dakota Badlands) I have canoed and kayaked in the Boundary Waters (Minnesota), the Missouri River (Montana) and several areas within Minnesota. I have lived/worked at Mammoth Station (park HQ) in Yellowstone National Park. In addition, I spent three years working for a major camping/mountaineering retailer and have a very good understanding of most gear/clothing used for camping, backpacking and kayaking.

BA Sociology, Naval OCS, NETC Newport, RI

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